These days, becoming an influencer on social media is a legitimate career path. And one of the most lucrative and creatively fulfilling platforms to achieve this on is video streaming behemoth YouTube.
Of course, you can’t expect to become a vlogging sensation overnight, without first fostering a few key skills that will send your subscriber numbers soaring. So how can you develop skills that will make a difference when building a YouTube empire?
Optimize your time management
Being good at time management is essential if you want to achieve success as an influencer. The reason for this is all down to how the YouTube algorithm operates. Basically, the more videos you post at regular intervals, the more likely it is for them to be recommended to users of the platform.
The most prolific posters will upload at least one video a day in order to get their channels noticed. This is easier to achieve with certain types of content; for example, gaming videos don’t require anywhere near the same amount of production time as videos on car culture.
Regardless of what you decide to focus on, you need to stay on top of your schedule from moment to moment, because even a small delay or a missed upload could cause your viewing figures, and your income, to plummet.
Enhance the production values of your videos
While it’s true that you don’t have to offer professional-quality videos to build an audience as an influencer on YouTube, you’ll certainly be starting off on a stronger footing if the clips you publish are polished from day one.
That means getting the right equipment, and learning how to edit video yourself. It also means using the same techniques as the pros to piece a post together, such as by using B-roll footage interspersed with to-camera segments to maintain audience interest.
The good news is that there are lots of excellent tools and resources out there to help newcomers. For example, you can find free video background footage to use without having to pay a premium, or needing to shoot extra footage yourself.
Get comfortable with performing for the camera
While YouTube’s top influencers might have very different presentational styles, the one thing that connects them all is their confidence when speaking to the camera.
Some go for bold and wacky, others go for an informed and expert tone, but almost no-one is shy, retiring or bad at enunciating words.
If you’re already a confident public speaker, this is a good sign that your forays into YouTube will get off to a flying start. If you are less able to express yourself in front of a crowd, then practicing your interactions with the camera is a must.
Don’t forget that you can shoot as much test footage as you like, without needing to upload anything. It’s all a learning process, and you’ll only make improvements if you put into practice.
Indeed the ability to be self-critical, and not upload every single thing you capture, is useful in its own right. Frequent posting is useful, as discussed, but you won’t build an audience organically if the average quality of your content is in the doldrums.
Get to grips with digital marketing & self-promotion
YouTube influencers are marketing machines, not only promoting their own work across a range of platforms, but also earning a living by partnering with brands in order to integrate paid ads within the videos they upload.
In fact, for the most part, smaller influencer channels are only able to justify their output because of these direct tie-ins with advertisers. This is because the amount earned from YouTube’s own pre-roll ads is simply not sufficient as a means of revenue generation, save for the cases in which each video you post receives millions upon millions of views consistently.
Learn to manage your financial affairs
Money skills are a must for any wannabe YouTuber to develop, since in the short term at least you’ll be handling every aspect of your operations solo, and that includes keeping up with any tax obligations you’re faced with when you earn cash from your uploads.
Eventually it may be possible to get an accountant onboard, or even have a dedicated finance team member as your channel grows. But for the time being, if you aren’t a wiz with filing tax returns and tracking expenses, this is an area you’ll need to master to avoid falling foul of the authorities.
The bottom line
While it’s true that you can become a YouTube influencer without any skills or experience, the reality is that you will learn and gain a number of new abilities as you ease yourself into this role. There’s a reason that the biggest stars on the video streaming social media scene all have slick content available regularly.